The first Mandate between the Government and the NHS Commissioning Board, setting out the ambitions for the health service for the next two years, is published today.
The Mandate reaffirms the Government’s commitment to an NHS that remains comprehensive and universal – available to all, based on clinical need and not ability to pay – and that is able to meet patients’ needs and expectations now and in the future.
The NHS Mandate is structured around five key areas where the Government expects the NHS Commissioning Board to make improvements:
- preventing people from dying prematurely
- enhancing quality of life for people with long-term conditions
- helping people to recover from episodes of ill health or following injury
- ensuring that people have a positive experience of care
- treating and caring for people in a safe environment and protecting them from avoidable harm.
Through the Mandate, the NHS will be measured, for the first time, by how well it achieves the things that really matter to people.
The key objectives contained within the Mandate include:
- improving standards of care and not just treatment, especially for the elderly
- better diagnosis, treatment and care for people with dementia
- better care for women during pregnancy, including a named midwife responsible for ensuring personalised, one-to-one care throughout pregnancy, childbirth and the postnatal period
- every patient will be able to give feedback on the quality of their care through the Friends and Family Test starting from next April – so patients will be able to tell which wards, A&E departments, maternity units and hospitals are providing the best care
- by 2015 everyone will be able to book their GP appointments online, order a repeat prescription online and talk to their GP online
- putting mental health on an equal footing with physical health – this means everyone who needs mental health services having timely access to the best available treatment
- preventing premature deaths from the biggest killers
- by 2015, everyone should be able to find out how well their local NHS is providing the care they need, with the publication of the results it achieves for all major services.
Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt said:
“Never in its long history has the NHS faced such rapid change in our healthcare needs, from caring for an older population, to managing the cost of better treatments, to seizing the opportunities of new technology.
“This Mandate is about giving the NHS the right priorities to deal with those challenges. By focusing on what matters to patients, and giving doctors and other professionals the freedom to deliver, we will make sure the NHS stays relevant to our needs and continues providing the best possible care for us all.”
The Mandate has been drawn up following consultation with the public, health professionals and key organisations across the health system between July and September 2012.